Troubled Waters – Chinese Fishing Fleets on African Shores

21.04.2021 10:00 - English

Edyta Roszko (CMI), Xufei Shi (CMI), Hang Zhou (CMI) and Jinping Ma (Univeristy of Warwick) in conversation with Professor Ragnhild Overå (UiB)

In recent years, China’s subsidized and technology-driven distant water fishing (DWF) fleets have been blamed for their destructive marine harvesting techniques and accompanying trade that shifted from the South China Sea to the African, South American and Pacific coasts.Regional authorities around the world highlighted the urgent need to understand and combat the deleterious effects of the expansion of the Chinese DWF on local fishing communities.

While we are beginning to recognize that these forms of exploitation are happening beyond the South China Sea, we still have no knowledge of what exactly happens and how.

Scholarly analysis has largely assumed that the growing presence of industrial fleets from China fishing in the EEZs of West and East Africa has been motivated by China’s food security concerns, by subsidies for ship construction, modernization and fuel, and by the state’s geopolitical agendas, including the Maritime Silk Road Initiative. This obscures the actual motivations and modalities of fishers’ expansions and their transoceanic networks connecting them with African fishers, Chinese diasporic communities and local fishing grounds, as well as the motivations of African fishers working with Chinese fleets.

Charting the spike in the DWF’s presence in Africa, this seminar challenges the monolithic view of China and Africa as homogenous wholes by illuminating multiscale actors and multiple mobilities involved in the operations of the Chinese fishing fleets in Africa

Join the seminar on Zoom

Edyta Roszko is a Senior researcher at Chr. Michelsens Institute and has a PhD in Social Anthropology from the Max Planck Institute at Martin Luther University in Halle, Germany. She directs a European Research Council Starting Grant project on Transoceanic Fishers: Multiple Mobilities in and out of the South China Sea.

Xufei Shi is a Post-Doctoral researcher and a part of the ERC project
TransOcean at Chr. Michelsen Institute. He works on the Chinese fishing industry in Madagascar.

Hang Zhou is a post-doctoral researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute. He works on Chinese fisheries in West Africa.

Jinping Ma has a PhD in the history from medicine from Warwick University. She is researching Chinese fisheries off the coast of Mauretania.

Ragnhild Overå is a professor at the University of Bergen. Her research involves fieldwork where socio-economic processes in local communities are viewed in context of processes on national and global scales. She has long experience researching small-scale fisheries in Africa, particularly in Ghana.

This is our fifth seminar in our series about the relationship between China and Africa. The seminars are free and open to all. It is possible to attend both physically and digitally.

Please note, that according to the COVID-19 regulations all participants must keep a distance of at least one metre from each other and maintain good hand hygiene. We also need to have an overview of who is present at all times, so for those who attend physically, we will register their names and phone numbers and keep it for 10 days. You can sign up for the event via

this link.

If you have any respiratory tract symptoms you should stay at home.

World Bank Photo Collection

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Event info.

Bergen Global
Jekteviksbakken 31, Bergen

Add to calendar 21.04.2021, 21.04.2021

Bergen Global is a joint initiative between the University of Bergen and Chr. Michelsen Institute that addresses global challenges.